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Published in the 16-30 June 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

50,000 Displaced Persons from Bodo Areas in 1993 yet to be resettled

The Milli Gazette Online 

President AIMMM Visits Camps in Bongoigaon on 23 May, 2005

New Delhi, 28 May, 2005: Shri Syed Shahabuddin, President of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), has issued the following Statement :-

"During his visit to Assam during 19-24 May, 2005, the President of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) visited on 23 May, 2005 the make shift camps occupied by the Muslim Bengalis who were displaced from their villages during the Bodo Disturbances in 1993. Nearly 5,000 families, totaling to about 50,000 persons of all ages, continue to live in slum like conditions without any basic facilities in 7 or 8 camps spread along the NH 31 in Bongoigaon and Kokrajhar districts. He also held discussion with district administration as well as with local leaders.

These private camps are located on private land, leased by the refugees. The State Government and the district government provide no facilities. Emergency relief was stopped by the Government after 6 months and some families were paid Rs. 10,000/- and asked to fend for themselves.

Because of the hostile social environment, the displaced cannot go back to their villages which are inside Bodoland. So they cannot re-claim the land they tilled or their homes in which they lived. The only alternative is their permanent resettlement outside Bodoland. 

The State Government has initiated a Resettlement Scheme to settle them on government land by allotting 1.5 kathas to each family as homestead land. This Scheme would require 1,500 bighas. Unfortunately so far only 200 bighas have been identified. Even that land is yet to be parcelled and allotted. The Government has not even decided which families shall get priority.

The AIMMM demands that the Resettlement Scheme be expeditiously implemented and once sanction is accorded, its development and allotment to displaced families should not take more than 6 months. Priority should be given to large families and generally those displaced from the same village should be resettled in the same place.

The AIMMM also demands that 

  1. The Government should acquire at market rate the agricultural and homestead land, the displaced left behind in their original villages, and pay the acquisition value to the families concerned.

  2. The Government should upgrade the ex-gratia payment for loss of life and injury to the level fixed by the Delhi High Court in case of those killed and injured in the 1984 Delhi Disturbances and extend it to cover the cases of missing persons against an indemnity bond signed by the next-of-kin.

The AIMMM also demands that, in the meantime, the State Government should pay the rent of the land on which the camps are located and provide basic facilities to the residents.

  1. Hand pumps to provide drinking water.

  2. Small medical unit with a nurse-cum-midwife and a pharmacist in each camp with a weekly visit by the M.O. of the nearest Primary Health Centre.

  3. One-teacher Primary school

  4. Barbed wire fencing along the NH, to prevent road accidents involving children. 

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